Paleokastritsa is one of the most beautiful resort villages in Corfu with everything you could want or need for the perfect vacation. A day trip to Paleokastritsa from Corfu Town can cost upwards of €200-300. So why not cut out the middleman and just stay on the bay? Our blissful vacation in Paleokastritsa was perhaps the most relaxing and enjoyable five days I’ve ever spent anywhere.
Stunning views and endless beach fun
Paleokastritsa is divided into several cliff-flanked bays, each featuring gorgeous beaches and perfect swimming conditions in the clear blue waters. Each of the beaches is conveniently accessible from the main coastal road, though staying at an accommodation on the water saved us a lot of walking uphill. Via a stretch of road that is just a little over 2 km, you can access Agia Triada Beach, Spiros Beach, Alipa Beach, Agios Spiridon Beach, and Agios Petros Beach.
Any beach that can’t be easily accessed on foot from Paleokastritsa can be reached by water taxi which can cost as little as €10-15 depending on how far you want to go. Some of the popular stops on the coast include the double-sided Limni Beach, which is accessible from two opposing bays. Further south, you’ll find the so-called Paradise Beaches of Chomi and Stelari, which are only accessible by boat and are basically deserted. The great thing about these beaches is the ability to enjoy a secluded and beautiful stretch of beach. The downside, of course, is not having simple access to bathrooms or beach bars where you can order a drink or a snack. Stelari does at least sometimes have umbrellas for rent so you don’t have to die in the hot sun.
If you’re unsure about where you want to stop for a few hours of beaching, you can take a cave sightseeing tour from the dock at Agia Triada Beach, which takes you up and down the coast and will allow you to scope out the situation at the different beaches. You can even decide to stay behind in the middle of your tour at any of the stops – even at La Grotta Bar, which is nestled into the coastal cliffs and is open all day and into the night, providing non-stop loud music, great cocktails, and pretty decent food. You can even take a swim.
Michalas Boat Rentals, which offers boat taxis and tours around Paleokastritsa, also does boat rentals. So whether you want to canoe around the bay or take a speedboat over to your secluded beach of choice, pretty much anyone can rent a boat without a license. All you have to do is pay for the time and the gas you use. If you’re interested in being in the water instead of boating around on it, Achilleon Diving Center offers scuba diving and snorkeling for both beginners and certified divers.
Though you’ll probably want to pepper your beach days with water adventures, perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of Paleokastritsa is that the beaches of the village are all beautiful and extremely convenient. Even during peak season in July, it’s not difficult to find an available lounger and umbrella to rent, particularly early in the day and in the late afternoon since the sun is blazing hot until 8 or 9 pm. You have access to showers, bathrooms, and you can conveniently order food or drinks directly to your lounger – they even take credit cards. For all their bad reviews, Poseidon Restaurant’s beach-delivered gyro was the best one we had on the whole island.
Hiking, eating, and drinking in Paleokastritsa
I had many lofty goals for things to see in Paleokastritsa. I wanted to take the Donkey Path trail up to the town of Lakones. I wanted to see the sea view from the Monastery. I even had the delusional thought that we could hike more than 7 km to see the ancient hilltop castle, Angelokastro. And yet, in the end, even after five days straight of lazying around on the beach and by the pool, I couldn’t find the energy to want to hike 182 meters up to see anything in Corfu’s 100-degree weather.
However, these places and even farther towns, like the traditionally Greek island-looking Afionas, are easily accessible by scooter or ATV, which are also conveniently available for rent by the shore.
(And if you’re wondering, this is the most comprehensive guide to the Donkey Path trail. I truly would never put that much effort into crafting a hike guide so thorough. Enjoy! I’ll be having a drink by the water.)
As it turns out, despite how small it is, Paleokastritsa had everything we could possibly need all week, so there was no point in leaving it. From snack bars with great sunset views like Tango Café to charming mid-range restaurants with accompanying entertainment such as Nereids. There is nothing you can’t find within a 10-minute walk, even a doctor’s office that hilariously has no information about their services but a page dedicated to celebrities that have visited. Just around the corner, you can party late into the night at La Grotta and even get some after-party food like gyros and crepes. Unlike most coastal towns around the world, which feel fake and even predatory to tourists, most of the restaurants nearby are run by entire generations of families, which gives the village a lot of charm and character. You’ll probably see pictures on the wall of the mother or grandfather of the person serving or cooking your food everywhere you go.
Getting to and staying in Paleokastritsa
A taxi from the airport should be around €50-60 if you get an honest cab driver. In order to make this vacation as simple as possible, we skipped the daunting step of taking a taxi to avoid the hassle and potential price gouging and booked a transfer through Vanakee. Nothing makes you feel like you’re on an amazing relaxing vacation like having a driver waiting with your name on a sign when you arrive at the airport, especially when the price is the same as a taxi. The transfer went so well that we ended up booking two additional transfers with the same company.
Staying in Paleokastritsa is a tad more complicated. The main coastal road has most of the available accommodations and local tavernas and eateries. Here you’ll find villas, hotels, and private rentals. If you veer off the main road, even if you’re less than a kilometer away from the beach, you will be walking straight uphill to your accommodation. Even from the main road, you have to go down sloping hills or steps to get down to the beach.
One of the best alternatives is the Akrotiri Beach Resort which is nestled into one of the cliffs that overlooks Agia Triada. Every room has a balcony and an amazing view of the sea or the bay. The beach is just a few steps down one side of the hotel and a private rocky beach and infinity pool are down the other side of the hotel. Despite the fantastic amenities, which include an app that allows you to order directly to your room or lounger, the place has a nice homey feel (just like everything else on Paleokastritsa). Upon our arrival at 8 am – hours before check-in opened – the owner pulled my wife and I into the breakfast buffet by the arm like we were her granddaughters and told us to enjoy breakfast on the hotel.
To make your beach experience that much better, you can use the hotel’s loungers on the beach for free and save yourself the hefty cost of renting an umbrella every day. And if you want an even lazier vacation in Paleokastritsa than we had, the resort has entertainment every couple of days including DJs and traditional dance shows by the pool. However, your effort to leave the resort will be rewarded by better food options.
Tips for a great vacation in Paleokastritsa
- A lot of people stake their claim to a lounger and stay all day. If you want to be sure you’ll get a spot, go early.
- If you go down to the beach after 5 pm, the umbrellas are usually half price and you still get 4-5 hours of sunlight.
- Taxis are not always readily available so book them ahead, especially if you’re heading to the airport.
- Taxis are way overpriced. You’ll be charged half the price of getting to Corfu Airport to drive 5 minutes up the hill. Which is another good reason to stay put around Paleokastritsa.
- Taxis don’t take credit cards, but almost everyone else does, even the beach chair and boat rental companies.
- There are ATMs in town, but you’ll get slammed with fees to use them.
- Food is great, but on the expensive side, even compared to Corfu Town.
- Beaches are rocky, so you should bring water shoes. If not, you can conveniently buy them for less than €10 at any of the small shops in town.
- Everything is busiest in the middle of the day when day trippers are in town. But that’s also the hottest part of the day, so if you’re staying in town, you can go to the beach in the morning and in the afternoon and take a nap in the middle of the day while everyone else fights over beach chairs.